Tag Archives: Economic Development

The Truth About Affordable Housing in Our Backyards

“For many years, backyard cottages — also known as granny flats, mother-in-law suites or accessory dwelling units (ADUs) — were treated as nuisance uses, outlawed in urban and suburban zoning codes around the country. But as affordable housing becomes ever more scarce, cities are beginning to look at liberalizing rules for building ADUs, as a way of adding cheaper, more diffuse housing supply in tight markets.”

Source: The Truth About Affordable Housing in Our Backyards

The Dennis Municipal Affordable Housing Trust and Dennis Economic Development Committee are both exploring expanding allowances for accessory dwelling units in Dennis.

Affordable Housing Needs and March 5th Planning Board Hearing

The following is some background information being shared with the Planning Board for the hearings on March 5th.

The Town adopted a plan to meet our affordable housing goals last year. The plan addresses meeting our affordable housing goals.

In addition, the Cape Cod Commission has prepared a report on the region’s shortfall in affordable housing. Dennis has a shortfall in affordable rental housing for the local work force.

Work force housing needs to be reemphasized over and over in the affordable housing discussion. The table above illustrates, in red, all the professions in Barnstable County that has an average pay scale that falls BELOW the $54,400 income level, the level for earning 80% of the county’s median income.

These two graphics show that, if you work on Cape Cod, you probably cannot afford to live here.

Another point, the three fields in yellow above, represent 60% of our labor force. Retail, accommodations and health care. Three areas critical to our tourist economy and our aging population, CANNOT afford to live on Cape Cod.

I will let these last few go with no comment.

Recent Affordable Housing Accomplishments #Housing4All #affordablehousing #OurHomesOurVoices

The Dennis Municipal Affordable Housing Trust, Housing Coordinator, Planning Office and Planning Board have been quite busy in recent months on the affordable housing front. Here are some highlights since January 1st .

1. 98 South Yarmouth Road – Habitat for Humanity has received approval for a three bedroom house at 98 South Yarmouth Road. The Special Permit has been finalized, with no challenges, and Habitat can proceed with this project.

2. Janall Drive – Habitat has acquired, through donation, the two affordable lots that were a part of the Janall Drive affordable housing development. The Planning Board approved modifications to the Special Permit and Site Plan for these two homes, and they are expected to proceed to construction.

3. FORWARD Housing at the Rock – The FORWARD project has received its Special Permit for construction of two four-bedroom dwellings within a duplex structure. It is our hope that FORWARD will soon be the recipient of a state housing grant to support this project.

4. Dennis Port Motel Conversion – The Planning Board has approved the conversion of the long vacant Dennis Port Motel into twelve rental apartments. The conversion will involve the combining of hotel rooms into a mixture of efficiency, studio and one- bedroom apartments. While rents on all the units will probably be within range of many workers in town, three units are required to be deed restricted affordable. I have already received inquiries about potentially living in these new apartments from residents of Dennis.

5. 317 Sea Street, Dennis Port – The Planning Board approved the conversion of the three bay garage located at 317 Sea Street in Dennis Port into four one-bedroom apartments. One unit will be accessed by way of a ramp for handicap accessibility. The existing, wide open driveway will be reduced in size with landscaping added. One of the four units will be deed restricted affordable.

6. 72/74 Swan River Road – The Dennis Municipal Affordable Housing Trust has acquired the property at 72/74 Swan River Road. The property will be added to our affordable housing rental stock, with both units being deed restricted affordable.

Route 28 GC-II Rezoning Dennis Port

Tonight the Planning Board will take up a request to rezone land along Route 28 in Dennis Port. The specific request entails extending the General Commercial II zoning for parcels that are part of the Holiday Hill complex to the rear property lines. At present, there are several split lots that are part of Holiday Hill. The request would place these parcels all within the GC-II zoning and will match the rear boundary of the zoning on the Benny’s property.

Micro-Apartments: Boston’s Housing Solution Or Developers’ Cash Cow? | WBUR

Micro-Apartments: Boston’s Housing Solution Or Developers’ Cash Cow? | WBUR.

What do you think? Could Dennis, especially in its village centers, benefit from “Micro-Apartments”?

Sesuit Harbor Zoning Updates – October 10th Discussion

On October 10th we met once again in the West Dennis Graded School House to discuss the Sesuit Harbor Zoning Issues. My goal for this meeting was to start to create the parameters for each of the Principle Uses identified on October 3rd. The goal for the first meeting was to see how far we could get with the parameters for the use “Private Marina.”

We went into this discussion trying to determine what facilities were common to a Private Marina and what design elements should be included as part of future zoning compliant permitting for such uses. The fruits of this discussion is below.


Private Marina Facilities:

  • Hauling and launching facilities
  • Docks and Slips
  • Ramps
  • “Working” Boating, i.e. fisherman, lobstermen etc., not included in what we eventually determine to be “accessory” under the term “excursion/charter”
  • Recreational Boating
  • Single level boat storage
  • Mooring
  • Slips
  • Boat Repair (not including repair to trailers)
  • Fuel service

The discussion on “facilities” led to modifications to the “Accessory Use” list created on October 3rd. This type of feedback loop should be anticipated through-out this process. The revised Accessory Use List now includes:

  • Food Service
  • Ship’s Supply Store
  • Rack Boat Storage
  • Boat Sales and Rentals
  • Employee Housing (Seasonal/Security)
  • Excursion and Charter Boats

As with the Principle Uses, each of these Accessory Uses will need to be carefully refined to ensure we all have a firm understanding of what they comprise.

Along with the discussion of facilities, we also started the process of determining the design elements that should be required for Private Marinas in the Sesuit Harbor Zoning District. The design elements, which still need much refining, are listed below:


  • Signage consistent with Dennis Sign Code and Old King’s Highway design standards
  • Emergency Services (Dennis Fire Department has been asked for input to develop what these standards should be)
  • Boat Pump Out
  • Adequate Parking for cars and trailers
  • Restrooms
  • Public access to water
  • Safe access
  • Showers (especially for overnight stays)
  • Balance between various boating uses
  • Visual Character – includes green spaces, landscaping, screening, and site design/layout
  • Enhanced Historic Review (to be discussed with Old King’s Highway)
  • Ground level parking only whether indoors our outside. No multi-level parking.
  • No Recreational Vehicle Parking
  • Bus Parking needs to be accommodated, but with appropriate restrictions on number, location and idling (consistent with state law).

As you can see, this is beginning to take real shape. Some important issues are being addressed. I know buses have been an issue in past discussions. Yesterday the discussion focused on a few aspects. First, we cannot, outright, prohibit buses on public streets. If an entity were to hire a bus to bring a group to the harbor as part of a charter of, say a couple fishing boats, would we want them discharging passengers in the street? Would we want the bus to have to leave the area (empty) and return (empty), or is it better that they can park (and reduce two extra vehicle trips. or, worst case, if buses were discouraged, would we want all the cars that would have been accommodated by a 20 seat mini-bus, or a larger bus on Sesuit Neck Road? It was determined that accommodating and designing for such parking would be best for this area.

Next Thursday, 9 am at the West Dennis Graded School House I will be updating the Dennis Economic Development Committee on the progress made.